What makes me qualified to address veteran’s issues?
Imagine living in a community where every single person around you has lived through combat and survived. If you have a sensitive spirit, you learn deeply from war and it’s impact by living with those who have learned–courageously, slowly and resiliently–to find life again after war. I lived in post-war Sarajevo, Bosnia for several years (a city and country that are very dear to me), married a war survivor from there and spent my time observing, listening, loving, and being impacted and deeply touched by the effects war has on the soul. I also wrote for The Associated Press there and through reporting, had the humble responsibility of giving Bosnian survivors a voice to the world.

I know that war takes you apart; leaves you in pieces. I know what it’s like to feel dead inside. The old you gone. I know that sometimes it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever be whole again.

It’s through my unique experience and spiritual journey that I feel called to share what I have learned. By no means do I believe that I have all the answers–in fact, no one does. What I can do is help ask the questions in ways that resonate and share the path to a new sense of wholeness that I have found.

Am I affiliated with a religion?
No, I am not. I believe we are all One and that we have immense spiritual power far beyond what most of us ever understand. We have lost connection with our innate power and I believe that when the soul is able to re-find that inner connection to Source, it is able to create its own healing path.

I also believe that we are each held in a Benevolent Universe–despite the contradictory facts that war creates. It’s very hard to sense or believe in Love and Good when you are hurting and know the devastation and chaos that war deems as normal. I went through a long period when I could not believe in good, God, life, or humanity. Eventually, I found my way through that, but not without a lot of internal darkness and deep, probing questions. I respect people’s choice of religious faith and I believe with all my heart that we each find our own unique spiritual path to wholeness and meaning.

I’m not a psychologist or licensed therapist, but I give advice on this blog and in private conversations. Why?
True, I’m not a psychologist. It’s been my experience in life that some of the most meaningful insight has come from people who  had journeyed ahead of me down the real-life path that I was on. I also find that it’s very different to be able to confide in someone who relates to you as a friend, and not a patient. The advice I give is my own opinions, based on personal life experience, finding my own path and a background in spirituality. It is NOT intended to replace the care or consultation of medical, mental health, financial, or legal professionals. I am here to support and supplement their work, and provide you with another avenue for exploring a healing path that makes sense to you.

Why do I believe healing is possible?
Because the human spirit is incredibly resilient and because there is more grace out there for each of us than we realize. Perhaps healing isn’t the most accurate term–it holds different meanings for each of us. The language we use is powerful in creating our sense of reality… I define healing as a sense of redefining wholeness, recreating a new identity, and making choices in each moment that support a meaningful life. Healing does NOT mean erasing, undoing, or returning to who you were before war. We start with where you are now. What we look at is what’s going on in your heart, mind, and soul – as well as your body and energy fields. I believe the heart and spirit can find relief and renewal – and I know combat veterans who have found considerable measures of healing. Are they the same as they were before war? No. But the hurting is less, they find a new sense of life and purpose.

Mental and spiritual pain caused by trauma and loss is very personal and individual. It is not like your body, where a doctor can prescribe a course of treatment and in a predictable (usually) manner, physical processes take over and your body heals. It is complex and much of it depends on how willing you are to examine the thoughts, beliefs, and fears around your war experiences.

Do I have any family who are U.S. veterans?
Yes, my grandfather served as a U.S. soldier in WWI and then volunteered as a chaplain in WWII; my father was a U.S. veteran of the Korean war, and my sister has served two tours in Iraq as a U.S. Army combat medic and is now a Blackhawk pilot.

3 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. I have only read a couple hundred words here and I must tell you that you are doing a wonderful thing. I am 68 years old, have not ever been in combat, and don’t know anyone real well who has—up until now. Your writing, care and concern is phenomenal, and I can feel a bit of what it must be like for these warriors. I thank you for all the lives you will save, both spiritual and corporal. —Chris McLaughlin

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